Praying Together


Margherita Mayr

Yes, I am aware that every time you turn on the tv or read a newspaper you are bombarded with a series of Coronavirus-related facts and articles, yet you must accept that this will be going on for a long time because, like it or not, we have just witnessed an unprecedented moment in history.

Therefore, I’m here to share with you with one more reflection on an important realisation brought about by this pandemic. In this two-months period, the only occasion that allowed me to breathe some air and take an isolated walk around the park was my dog. I’m forever grateful for his presence. It was precisely during these short walks through the streets that I came to realise that contact with other human beings is what we missed the most. 

I should be more precise to be able to effectively convey the moment where this realisation sparked in me. It was May 4th. In Italy the government had just passed the hundredth decree regarding Covid-19, this time allowing children to leave their houses accompanied by their parents. This was a very important breakthrough since children, although thought of as immune to the virus in every sense, have been amongst the social groups to have suffered the most in this period. Imagine being a child in quarantine: suddenly you can’t see your grandparents nor your friends, you are not allowed to leave the house, not even to accompany your parents to the supermarket. The tragedy lies in the fact that as humans, especially at a tender age, we need social contact. It is via interactions with others that we are able to learn, reflect on ourselves, find distractions and understand what it means to respect others. These are teachings and values that cannot be easily taught in confined spaces with a limited number of people. Going back to that day, May 4th. As always, I was taking my dog for a walk after lunch at the park and there, for the first time in months, I witnessed a moving scene: three children were chasing each other around, hiding behind trees and laughing on the grass. All three were wearing masks. Masks definitely look unnatural on the face of children, too big for their small faces and an obstacle towards their laughter and innocent expressions. 

However, the fact that they were forced to wear masks didn’t seem to stop them from having fun. In that moment, they surely felt the luckiest children on earth. Being able to play and have fun. This exact scene made me realise that despite our differences and personalities, we need company because this reassures us and gives us certainties in a world where nothing seems to be known for sure. We all have those moments where we prefer to spend the evening in bend watching a film instead of going out with a bunch of friends. Before I thought that this was because some of us aren’t meant to be social creatures, but prefer to be solitary and left alone. I have now changed my mind. Needing some alone-time occasionally doesn’t imply that this is what is best for us and trying to deny that at times company could do us good is simply counter-productive. 

The pandemic served as a reminder that we are social creatures. Without social interactions, mankind would have never evolved, we wouldn’t have had the possibility to learn such amazing notions and expand on our knowledge. Spending time with others is they key towards our evolution as a species and our well-being as individuals.